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ccupy Fukushima—and all those ruins in which we still must live. To occupy is to take up the work of living together even where the odds are against us. It is to refuse—and also to recuperate. If we are to live, we must learn to occupy even the most broken spaces of life on earth. Our rage is necessary. Without it, we wither.
In a wake-up call for life on earth, the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, a cost-saving U.S.-Japanese commercial product, spilled radioactivity all over northeastern Japan—and subsequently, spread by state, business, and geophysical forces, far beyond. How are we to live in these ruins? At the very least, we must occupy, occupy, and occupy. (To join one small Japan-and-beyond occupation of the post-Fukushima public imagination, write a mini-essay for Naito, et. al. eds. To see once more the stars, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Occupy food. Between the monocrop deserts and charnel houses of industrial agriculture and the impatient lips of consumers lie signature ruins of our times: our deadly food supply chains. Yet over the past decade, grassroots mobilizations, from slow foods to fair trade, have had stunning success in showing that this arrangement is not inevitable: We can make a difference. Food policies are under scrutiny; alternative food systems are blossoming. We have a chance. Occupy food.
All the best characteristics of the Occupy movement can be glimpsed here too, such as the overwhelming diversity of our people and causes and our ability to form empowering connections across continents, cultures, and species. Old ladies with neatly printed signs and swaggering Rasta boys; tree huggers and techno-whizzes; propaganda by the deed and Occupy Congress: Bring on them all.
Occupy good fortune. In a world colonized by the entrepreneurial spirit, it is hard to know how to resist. “Don’t make money” hardly works, and “Do make money (our way)” is even worse. But isn’t there still a place for other kinds of fortune—the lure of curiosity; the pleasure of working with strangers; the mystery of the world in all its wild exuberance? When security and money are everyone’s common sense, we are dulled into compliance. Occupy the familiar. Refuse and recuperate everyday life. Learn more languages and practice other ways to dance. Rage against common sense; reach for what they say we can’t have: the common.
Below: Ordinary towns and vegetable gardens—and the Geiger counter sounding its alarm.[vc_video link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp9iJ3pPuL8"]